North Qld volunteer Stanley gives back to hospital that saved his life

23/May/2023     Mater People

North Queensland retiree Stanley Cronin has spent a lot of time as a patient at Mater Private Hospital Townsville – and now he’s giving back to those who saved his life.

The 78-year-old was one of the first patients to undergo heart bypass surgery at the hospital 20 years ago, a nine-hour surgery which Stanley says “changed his life”.

Stanley, from Condon, suffered multiple heart problems and said he could not thank the staff at Mater enough for the care he had received following his surgery.

In 2015, Stanley’s wife Thelma died from an aggressive brain tumour, aged 64.

“Thelma was a patient at Mater too. She was given the utmost care and told she had about three to six months to live,” Stanley, a volunteer patient companion, said.

“She ended up living another nine-and-a-half years after her initial diagnosis and we were able to do 32 cruises during that time together.

“We would go to hospital together regularly for appointments, check-ups, scans and procedures.”

Stanley said after his wife died, he wanted to give back to the hospital and show his appreciation to those who cared for his wife, and those who had helped keep him alive.

A volunteer at Mater Private Hospital Townsville for the last seven years, Stanley said it was a “major asset” for older people to “get in and help out” at the hospital.

“Volunteering has given me a purpose,” he said.

I have formed some amazing friendships during my time here as a volunteer.

“The funny thing is, I help people who are in my age group. When I help someone who might need a wheelchair, I think to myself ‘maybe they should be pushing me!”

Mater Private Hospital Townsville co-ordinator David De Witt said Stanley was an integral part of a team of almost 50 volunteers at the hospital.

“Stanley really manages to relate to the patients at Mater. It’s something special for the people who are undergoing procedures similar to what he has gone through,” Mr De Witt said.

“He can really make a difference to someone who is feeling lonely. Stanley enjoys going into the wards and chatting to the patients.”

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